Clearing A Hurdle For Superconducting Chips - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Clearing A Hurdle For Superconducting Chips

Researchers have found a solution to the problem of painfully slow interchip communication.

Scientists have called the benefits of superconducting chips mind-boggling. Since they have no resistance to electrical current, superconductors' power consumption represents a fraction of what silicon chips use, and their on-chip speed exceeds silicon by a factor of 10 to 12. But there has always been one major problem: painfully slow interchip communication.

Researchers at TRW Space and Electronics Group in Redondo Beach, Calif., have found a solution using circuits made from niobium. Their superconducting chips far outpace silicon chips, transmitting as many as 60 Gbps. But it may still take some time before chipmakers embrace a new material.

The high overhead costs are prohibitive for low-end consumer electronics, says professor Konstantin Likharev, an expert in superconductor electronics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Refrigeration costs alone would total $20,000 to $30,000 for a single chip, because superconducting chips must to be cooled to liquid-helium temperatures. "You won't see these chips in talking toasters," he says. It does make sense for high-performance computing or Internet switching base stations. Because switching hubs cost millions, the additional refrigeration cost would seem nominal, he says. If the refrigerators were produced in volume, the cost could go down to $1,000 or less, Likharev says. "I don't know what chip manufacturers are thinking--I'm surprised no one has jumped on this."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
Slideshows
IT Careers: 10 Industries with Job Openings Right Now
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/27/2020
Commentary
How 5G Rollout May Benefit Businesses More than Consumers
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  5/21/2020
News
IT Leadership in Education: Getting Online School Right
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/20/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll